Category Archives: UGA-125

2014-03-10-14-Monitors

New DisplayLink Windows Driver Version 7.7 Leaves XP Behind

photo_power_searcherDisplayLink has released their new Windows driver version 7.7 M0. For most users, we’re recommending they stay on DisplayLink’s mature 7.6 M2 driver series for the time being, but this release does improve performance especially for 4K Ultra HD (up to 3840×2160) USB multi-monitor graphics adapters like the Plugable UGA-4KDP.

This release is also the first that is Windows Vista or later only. Windows XP users will need to stay on the Windows 7.6 driver series (or earlier). Windows’ graphics driver architecture was very different in Windows XP, causing DisplayLink’s driver to be “two drivers in one”. Dropping XP support in 7.7 allows DisplayLink to focus on and optimize for newer Windows versions. Note that for systems automatically downloading from Windows Update, the correct version will automatically be downloaded for you.

UGA-3000_In use illustrationWe’ve been testing this release since the betas, and had seen stable results with the betas. With the final 7.7 M0 release, however, we’ve seen problems during install and with missing cursors after install. Because the performance differences are most noticeable in modes above 1920×1080, and the previous driver version 7.6 M2 has proven most stable, we’re only going to point users of our 4K adapters immediately to this new driver. For sub-4K adapters, 7.6 M2 is well proven — and of course is essential for XP.

Detailed Release Notes

DisplayLink Software Release R7.7 M0 warnings: Some users have reported mouse cursor problems and install problems, requiring a revert to 7.6 M2. That release is well proven.

DisplayLink Software Release R7.7 M0 delivers the following improvements:

- Improved full screen video frame rate and image quality on high resolution screens
- Lower mouse cursor latency on desktop applications
- New embedded firmware upgrade mechanism improving first connect user experience. Visible from future releases.
- Early support for Intel Broadwell platform

Fixed issues since R7.6 M2 (7.6.56275.0)

Monitor EDID was incorrectly interpreted, if the monitor id contained an underscore (_). (17606)

Audio output might not switch to default after disconnecting headphones from DisplayLink device in hibernation (S4). (17401)

On some laptops, the video performance can decrease on DisplayLink screens when a proprietary docking station and a DisplayLink docking station are connected at the same time and the user logs on and off. (16915)

Some platforms running Vista x64 can stop responding after installing DisplayLink Ethernet driver. (17384)

DisplayPort++ to DVI adapters can display incorrect available mode list. (17427)

Occasionally a DisplayLink monitor could be blank after resuming from power saving mode. (17554)

Ethernet UDP performance might drop when playing video and audio over a DisplayLink device. (17579)

Intermittent screen corruption visible when a DisplayLink monitor duplicates a touch screen display in Basic mode on Windows 7 (17782)

Wake on LAN sometimes doesn’t work when DisplayLink device is connected at USB 3.0. This is a regression introduced in 7.6 M2. (17865)

Video and/or Ethernet not available after power state changes on some platforms. Ethernet could show a Yellow “!”, with Error Code 43, in device manager (17896, 17047)

If multiple DL-5xxx or DL-3xxx devices are connected, one device can fail USB enumeration resuming from S4 when connected to USB 2.0 on Windows 7. (17835)

Removed compatibility check which prevented installation if a 3rd party USB graphics solution was connected. Now installation will only be blocked if 3rd party USB graphics drivers are found to be installed. (17763)

Before You Upgrade To Mac OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”)

Good news: Mac OS X 10.9 is available today and for the first time, it’s a free update, so app and hardware developers will be able to start counting on Mac hardware running the latest software in general (kinda like the iOS world).

Bad News: Mac OS X versions have historically broken some percentage of 3rd party hardware, and OS X 10.9 appears to have a particularly big impact. Many hardware devices will need updated drivers for 10.9, either because the older drivers simply don’t work at all, or because they work but with new problems.

If you can, it may be better to wait for the adventurous to forge ahead and report their findings on 10.9, before taking the upgrade.

DisplayLink Based USB Products

Users with DisplayLink-based USB Docking Stations and Graphics Adapters should avoid updating to 10.9, if at all possible. See here for details.

DisplayLink-based USB devices that work well on 10.8.5 (up to 4 additional USB displays) will be broken for most uses by the 10.9 update. In particular, 2+ USB displays or any HDMI-attached displays (even non-DisplayLink) don’t work reliably because of screen configuration issues.

We don’t know when this is going to be fixed — but evidence is it will require fixes both from Apple and DisplayLink, so that will take a significant amount of time.

If you are able to stay on 10.8.5, or if you only need a single USB attached DVI/VGA monitor on 10.9, use
DisplayLink’s latest 2.1 Beta drivers.

USB Network Adapters


Mac OS X 10.9 (and 10.8.5) includes support for both the AX88772 chipset and the AX88178 chipsets in our USB 2.0 USB Ethernet adapters, and UD-160-A docking station. For these chips, we recommend first uninstalling any ASIX drivers and repairing disk permissions before upgrade to 10.9 (relying on your built-in net connection), and just plugging in to use the Apple drivers after upgrade.


For our USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter, an updated ASIX driver is required. In addition to Mavericks support, compatibility issues with Android File Transfer seem to be resolved. That said, we’re seeing reports of some new problems with 10.9 and would recommend caution. For those who have already updated to 10.9, the compatible driver is available at:
the latest ASIX driver version to get 10.9 compatibility. Note that this driver does not yet have the new 10.9 signature, so you’ll also need to click ok on installing the driver unsigned.

USB Serial Adapter

The latest driver version is required to work with 10.9.

Plugable USB to RS-232 DB9 Serial Adapter

Serial devices will be automatically created (“ls /dev | grep serial”" to see them), however the network control panel in 10.9 now no longer shows serial devices as connected, even when they’re in use.

Other Devices

For all of our other devices, we’re recommending in-box drivers, or they don’t require 3rd party driver installs (hubs, cables, etc).

If you have a question about a product we didn’t mention, please feel free to comment below. We’ll get it added.

And if you hit any 10.9 upgrade problems with Plugable products, we’ll work to help. Just email support@plugable.com anytime.

Thanks!

Multiple Monitor Issues with OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and 10.10 (Yosemite)

Update 10/22/14: With the release of 10.10 (Yosemite), unfortunately there’s not much improved USB graphics behavior to report, as the key issues outlined in this post still exist.

We’ve posted an update regarding USB graphics and other USB device behavior with Yosemite that can be found here.

DisplayLink has recently released an updated beta driver that contains some fixes, though the larger issues outlined in this post and elsewhere are still present. Beta driver v2.3 is compatible with OS X 10.8.5, 10.9.x, and 10.10.

Original Post 10/22/13: OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”) has been released today and is a free update.

But multiple monitor users should hold off – OS X 10.9 appears to break many multiple monitor setups.

At least 4 distinct issues with external displays have been duplicated on the “Golden Master” developer seed OS X 10.9. There are no known workarounds or resolutions available at this time:

  1. HDMI displays cause unexpected mirroring
  2. Display Preferences lost on reboot or hot plug
  3. A significant performance drop from 10.8.5 on USB attached displays
  4. Window server crashes

We have already created a bug report with Apple on the first issue, HDMI displays causing unexpected mirroring. However, Apple has not yet responded to it. In an effort to get more traction on this bug, we’ve created an OpenRadar bug report. We need your help to gather more information. Please leave a comment on the OpenRadar bug report with your system information and any relevant setup details.

HDMI displays cause unexpected mirroring
Apple does not make bug reports submitted to them visible to others, so we are showing that report here. Apple has not yet responded to it. This bug affects DisplayLink-based hardware (like ours), along with other HDMI setups using non-DisplayLink hardware. Because this bug report was based on testing with 10.9 preview releases, the behavior might be better or different in the final OS X 10.8 final release version.

Submitted Apple Bug Report: HDMI displays create mirror issues under 10.9 GM seed

When attaching additional displays beyond a single primary display, HDMI attached displays will override a user’s display preferences (resolution and arrangement of additional displays).

This has been tested and reproduced using both USB to HDMI adapters, Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters, and the HDMI output built-in to a current gen USB 3.0 Mini.

When using a HDMI to DVI adapter (Apple branded or 3rd party), the issue is not reproduced: the error seems to be triggered specifically by HDMI (regardless of whether the HDMI is a built-in port, a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter or cable, or a USB to HDMI adapter.

To be clear, I AM able to use a mix of DVI or VGA attached displays without hitting this issue: the issue only occurs when attempting to add an HDMI display.

After manually disabling mirroring and arranging the displays, they will work normally- however the issue will recur on reboot and typically whenever the HDMI display is re-attached. In the case of the Thunderbolt to HDMI cable or adapter or a USB to HDMI adapter (DisplayLink 2.0 and 3.0 based), a reboot or hotplug event will “break” the non-mirrored display arrangement—although anything other than “deep” sleep does NOT. That is to say display arrangement is retained until the system reboots or enters deep sleep, or on hot-plug events.

Please note that similar issues were seen on earlier 10.9 builds, however these actually got worse on the GM seed pushed 10/7/13.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Use a normally working 10.9 Mavericks system with built-in Thunderbolt and HDMI display outputs.
2. Attach any HDMI display via built-in HDMI port, USB to HDMI display adapter, or Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter/cable.
3. Observe that HDMI display comes up in mirror mode rather than as an extended display.
4. Disable display mirroring, arrange displays to match physical locations.
5. Reboot system: observe that display preferences are lost.

6. Repeat, substituting a DVI or VGA connection to the same HDMI display. Observe that mirror mode issue is not encountered, and that display preferences are retained up on reboot.

Expected Results:
Displays should come up in “extended” mode, regardless of how they are attached.

Actual Results:
In my testing on 3 Mavericks systems, any HDMI display comes up in mirror mode, and causes display preferences to be lost on reboot (and various other conditions previously mentioned).

Version:
OS X 10.9 (13A598)

Submitter:
Jeff Everett (support@plugable.com)

Display Preferences Lost on Reboot or Hotplug
Distinct from the issue where HDMI displays cause unexpected mirror mode configurations, display preferences like monitor arrangement, resolution, and background are almost always lost on reboot and “hotplug” events when USB display adapters are unplugged and then reconnected. This means users may have to re-configure the OS X settings relating to physical arrangement of their multi-display systems on every reboot or every time they have to disconnect/reconnect from their USB display devices.

No or Slow Rendering on USB Attached Displays
An occasional problem when running 2 or more USB attached displays is that the displays won’t update most pixels. Mouse cursor movement is visible, however any updates made by applications onscreen are not visible, leaving the external display unusable.

Window Server Crashes
Although infrequent, the window server can crash. This renders a system unusable as all displays repeatedly go black/blank while the window server restarts.

Investigation is ongoing as to whether these issues are “core” OS issues with 10.9 Mavericks or may be resolved by further updates to DisplayLink’s 2.1 beta driver. At least one issue (with HDMI displays creating unexpected mirroring) appears to be a fundamental OS X issue, as this has been reproduced on a system with no DisplayLink driver installed, using only the HDMI and Thunderbolt ports built into a late 2012 Mac Mini 6,1.

Additional details are available on DisplayLink’s “Known issues with DisplayLink on OS X 10.9 Mavericks” page, as well as in their OS X 2.1 beta driver forum.

Windows 8.1 Preview – DisplayLink Drivers

Windows 8.1 offers some great improvements, and we’re already seeing users (particularly Surface Pro users) who are trying the preview.

The preview of Windows 8.1 just came out yesterday, and it’s important to note that it appears to break compatibility with some existing drivers. When you upgrade to 8.1, drivers are not migrated from 8.0, rather they appear to be re-enumerated and re-installed.

The most widespread change appears to be some new driver signing requirements which may cause 3rd party drivers to need an update. Also specific to USB graphics is Windows 8.1 introduces a new WDDM 1.3 graphics model, which requires some additional updates.

DisplayLink’s technology, which we use in our docks and adapters, is affected. If you upgrade to 8.1 without a driver upgrade, you’ll lose your extra screens.

Fortunately, DisplayLink appears to be doing a good job of staying ahead of all these changes (they’ve been working with earlier NDA builds, in partnership with Microsoft), and have released their preview driver with support for Windows 8.1 on the same day.

 

DisplayLink’s 7.4 preview driver with Windows 8.1 support is available here.

We installed Windows 8.1 when it came out yesterday, and the new DisplayLink driver, and while I’m sure there’s issues there somewhere, all of our quick tests showed good results in a production environment. If you do find any issues, let us know. Or post on DisplayLink’s forum (the link above) to get the feedback directly to them, or comment here.

So for anyone updating to Windows 8.1, please install the DisplayLink 7.4 Preview driver. You can even do this before the upgrade — the 7.4 preview works also on earlier versions of Windows, and when 8.1 does a re-enumeration it will find the driver if you’ve already converted over. A reboot may be required to get things to settle.

Hope that background helps. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

DisplayLink Releases New Windows Driver Version 7.2 M0

Yesterday DisplayLink released the latest driver v7.2 M0 for Windows. We’ve been testing it here at Plugable and so far the results are very positive. Among other things, we’re excited that it fixes a number of recent compatibility and performance issues found with Windows 8 Metro apps. We recommend downloading this driver version for all USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Plugable display adapters and laptop docking stations, for all versions of Windows.

Download DisplayLink Windows Driver v7.2 M0

Note: The DisplayLink installer will uninstall older DisplayLink drivers, update firmware on the device, and install new drivers. This will result in a few minutes of on/off blank screens and Windows Plug and Play complaining about no driver in the middle of the process. Wait for the install to complete, and reboot to finish it off.

So far we’ve been able to confirm the following key fixes for this driver release:

  • Fixed issues with Metro apps sometimes taking an extra 10-15s to open on any screen when DisplayLink drivers are installed. In our testing we experienced no delays opening Metro apps.
  • Fixed an issue with a recent Chrome update causing the browser to hang when driver v7.1 is installed on the system. 7.2 is now compatible with the latest version of Chrome.
  • Fixed an issue on Win 8 with Metro video playback apps not working when in the presence of DisplayLink driver. We were able to play Netflix and Hulu via the Metro app after upgrading to 7.2 (make sure to reboot after upgrade)
  • 7.2 is now compatible with devices using the newer Intel Atom chipsets with PowerVR graphics (the Clovertrail and Medfield lines). These are typically on low-end Windows 8 tablets. Keep in mind that these PowerVR based devices have a total display size limitation (which includes the native screen) of 4096×4096, so will that’ll typically only be enough for 1 external monitor to be used.

Issues:

  • 7.2 also includes a re-vamped NIC driver and firmware for the UD-3000 docking station. In our testing we’ve hit one specific scenario that causes the dock to disconnect from the host machine – after we perform speedtest.net tests repeatedly, the upload speed eventually reaches 0, and connected displays begin to flash on and off. But we weren’t able to reproduce this problem through normal usage of the dock, even after downloading/uploading large files. We’re waiting to hear back from DisplayLink for further details on this issue.
  • 7.2 M0 does not solve the existing problem where full-screen DirectX 11 games will not run in the presence of DisplayLink drivers (on any screen). Games must be run windowed (if they have that option), or DisplayLink drivers must be uninstalled and re-installed after.

DisplayLink lists the following fixes in the release notes for 7.2:

  • Ethernet connection lost when setting MAC address to ‘not present’.
  • Temporary screen corruption when changing mode from extend to clone.
  • Some web-based video streaming services like Netflix may sometimes not work on DisplayLink screens.
  • Ethernet packets corruption.
  • On Windows XP sometimes DisplayLink monitors may remain in power save mode until replug after resuming computer from sleep.
  • Ethernet packets with incorrect MAC address being sent from DisplayLink dock.
  • Image quality very poor for high fps video.
  • Metro applications on Windows 8 take up to 10 seconds to open.
  • Blue screen when rebooting first time after installation of DisplayLink drivers.
  • USB port stops responding after replugging DisplayLink device.
  • Large frame sent over Ethernet using DisplayLink device trigger network errors.
  • Wake On Lan doesn’t work on Windows 8.
  • Ethernet doesn’t work after computer is resumed from sleep using Wake On Lan.
  • Disabling Wake On Lan with magic packets is not honoured.

We’d appreciate any feedback you have on the 7.2 drivers. If you run into any issues just comment below or e-mail us at support@plugable.com, we’d be glad to help!

DisplayLink Windows 7 Compatibility Issues with Basic Mode and Chrome

Two important Windows 7 compatibility notices, for users of DisplayLink devices:

1) A Windows update deployed by Microsoft on 2/27/2013 is leaving Windows systems in Basic mode, which then causes problems with older DisplayLink drivers prior to 6.3 M1, including the very common 5.6 M1 version. The particular update causing the breakage appears to be a Microsoft change to DirectX. When first released on the 27th, Microsoft had it as a “recommended” update so it was pushed out widely. Microsoft has now switched it to be an “optional” update. You can read discussion of the affects of the update here.

This problem is Windows 7 specific.

There are a couple options for solutions:
1) Install the latest DisplayLink drivers (currently 7.1 M1). You can download the latest DisplayLink drivers here.
2) Uninstalling the offending update individually. Here’s how.
3) Doing a system restore to 2/26/2013 or prior will solve the issue.

A separate problem, but one that appeared around the same time, is Google Chrome tabs hanging on load.

On Feb 22nd, Google Chrome updated to version 25.0.1364.97m. This version conflicts with any installed DisplayLink version 7.x drivers and higher, on Windows Vista and up. Google is working to fix this in a Chrome update, but until then you can work around the issue by passing the –disable-gpu flag to chrome. To do this, type “chrome” in the Windows start search box, but don’t hit enter. Then right click on “Google Chrome” and select properties. Enter the –disable-gpu parameter as the last part of the “Target” string (note that’s two dashes before the word disable!). Here’s what it looks like:

chrome-disable-gpu

Please let us know if any problems persist after these new Microsoft and Google updates. Feel free to comment below. We’ll help however we can. Thanks!

DisplayLink Releases New Windows Driver Version 7.1 M1

Today DisplayLink released their new Windows Driver Version 7.1 M1 (7.1.45135.0). We’re excited to have this new driver out, as it fixes a number of last issues that let us recommend the latest 7.X drivers over the earlier 5.X and 6.X series drivers, on all versions of Windows. All of Plugable’s current and past USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices with a USB graphics function will work with this new driver.

Download the latest version of DisplayLink driver here.

This release has fixes for these issues which have affected a significant number of our users:

  • DisplayLink driver versions starting with 7.0 could cause Flash to hang up and crash when running Chrome browser. Those problems are reported fixed in 7.1 M1
  • nVidia GPUs with drivers dated Oct, 2012 or later would experience flashing screens and crashes. These problems are reported fixed in 7.1 M1 for some users, but not yet all
  • Windows 8 Metro applications running on USB displays could come up with Window unpainted (Blue or black). Reported fixed in 7.1 M1

A number of significant issues on Windows remain:

  • Windows 8 Metro apps playing protected video content will not play while the DisplayLink driver is installed (will show message in Window to upgrade graphics drivers). This is a difficult issue to solve because Microsoft has tightened DRM policies in Windows 8, and expect it may remain for some time.
  • Some driver conflicts apparently remain between nVidia drivers from October 2012 and later, and DisplayLink. The new 7.1 M1 driver solves some of these issues, but not all. We’ve also seen examples where the very latest nVidia pre-release drivers resolve this issue. We’ll keep tracking this, and appreciate your problem reports and feedback.

In detail, DisplayLink lists these issues fixed in 7.1M1

  • Microphone is shown as ‘Not plugged in’ after replugging DisplayLink device. (14345, 14431, 14463)
  • In some cases uninstallation of DisplayLink Core Software doesn’t uninstall everything properly. (14617)
  • UDP streaming using DisplayLink ethernet device is unreliable. (14678)
  • Sometimes VGA monitor attached to already connected DisplayLink device is not recognized correctly. (14699)
  • Sometimes screens remain blank after DisplayLink monitors are resumed from suspend mode. (14703, 14743, 13669)
  • Some video players showing content only on half of the screen. (14790)
  • On some systems with nVidia GPU Desktop Window Manager is crashing causing Windows to drop to Basic Mode. (14942)
  • Some Metro apps on Windows8 show a blank blue screen. (14955)
  • Sometimes Chrome web browser is responding very slowly and Flash plug-in crashes. (15014)
  • Sometimes DisplayLink monitor shows white noise instead of content when changing mode to clone while playing video. (15030)

We welcome any experiences or questions below. If you have a Plugable product and have any problems at all, just email your Amazon order # to support@plugable.com and we’ll be happy to help. Thanks!

nVidia drivers Oct 2012 and Later vs. DisplayLink Dec 2012 and Earlier

We’re seeing a number of reports that nVidia’s drivers for certain chipsets dated October 2012 and later have problems in the presence of DisplayLink drivers.

When things like this have happened in the past, DisplayLink has released updates which “catch up” to nVidia’s newer drivers. Unfortunately, as of the current DisplayLink release (7.1 M0 just released Dec 2012), the current issues are improved, but not yet fully resolved.

Problem reports are mostly from Windows 8 users, which are getting automatically updated to these newest nVidia drivers — but it may be a harbinger for Windows 7 users who will be getting the same updates later.

If you’re a DisplayLink USB graphics user in this situation, if possible we recommend staying on nVidia drivers older than October 2012 (or rolling back to any earlier version) until there’s a known fix from DisplayLink (likely) or nVidia (unlikely).

Note this does not affect Windows Multipoint Server 2012, which is the first Windows version that has an explicit driver model for USB graphics (USB zero client terminals specifically), that keeps drivers from conflicting with each other and avoids these kinds of troubles completely.

We don’t ever want customers stuck, so email us anytime at support@plugable.com — we’ll do whatever we can to help. Our apologies and thanks for your patience!

OS X Mid-2012 MacBook USB and Graphics update

Good news Mac owners! Apple has released a graphics and USB focused update just for late model, Mid 2012 MacBook models including “all Mac notebooks released in June 2012.” This update “includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices.”

As with any OS X update, simply choose updates in the App Store or choose Software Update from the Apple menu. Once all prerequisites are installed (which include 10.8.2), the update will appear.

Details on the update are rather sparse at the moment, however initial findings on the 11 inch Air I use as a primary work laptop are positive. After installing the update, some U3 Communicator HD docks which I had previously identified as defective actually worked consistently and at normal speeds.

I’ve also noticed better reliability on the arrangement of the quad display panel I use with the tiny Air and a set of our DisplayLink-based UGA-165 adapters. Previously I could virtually never reboot and have my display arrangement persist, but now that seems to have been corrected- however this probably has more to do with the unusual number of hubs and devices I go through in day to day equipment testing and the constant swapping of ports that comes with it.

One frustrating issue that persists is when an USB storage volume unexpectedly disconnects, finder will freeze- immediately if you instruct it to eject the improperly disconnected volume. Forcing a reboot corrects the issue, however the system is largely unresponsive until the reboot which of course could result in data loss.

We’d love to hear your input on how this update is affecting your Plugable devices on those shiny new MacBooks!

MacRumors of course has a thread on the topic with very active discussion: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1486234

The Windows RT and Surface USB Device Compatibility Story

[Updated 11/20/2012]

Microsoft’s official statement is “Windows RT uses class drivers and in-box drivers exclusively, departing from a common driver added scenario on the x64 or x86 architectures.” (see Microsoft policies). There is no DDK. Officially, installing drivers on Windows RT is not supported.

That said, it turns out there is at least oneWindows ARM driver that exists (probably built and extracted from a full Windows RT platform development kit), and as a user you can install those drivers on a normal, unmodified Microsoft Surface device at least.

Whether Microsoft will close this mechanism in the future is unclear.

But for now, these steps show how to install a driver on the Surface to get wired ethernet support for particular devices like ours.

Below is a more complete list of all the Plugable devices which can and can’t be made to work with the surface today. Most use the drivers already built into the RT, so none of the above is a concern — but Windows RT is “special” so check for compatibility before assuming a device will work!

What devices work out of the box with ARM-based Windows RT (without a 3rd party driver install)?

USB hubs, including

USB extension cables, including

USB storage devices, including

USB keyboards and mice, including

What needs a driver package, but don’t have one for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Anything with a USB graphics function, including

Quite a few other devices with driver installs required, such as

What needs a driver package and has one available for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Feel free to add additional information in the comments, if you discover anything new or find any errors.